Finalists announced for the men's and women's Rising Star awards

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European Athletics

After weeks of voting, we can reveal the three finalists for the prestigious men's and women's Rising Star awards.

There were four components to the first stage of voting which all made up 25 percent of the vote: the social media vote, the Member Federations vote, the European Athletics Experts Panel vote and the media vote. Voting closed at noon CET on Friday 5 October.

The winners will be announced and presented with their award at the Golden Tracks award ceremony which will be held in Lausanne, Switzerland on Friday 26 October.

Last year’s Rising Stars were Norway’s Karsten Warholm and Ukraine’s Yuliya Levchenko. Then award was first handed out in 2007 to award and acknowledge exceptional emerging European athletes.

Men's Rising Star finalists

Armand Duplantis (SWE)

The superlatives associated with Armand Duplantis’ record-breaking exploits at the European Championships in Berlin are endless.

Duplantis had already broken the world U20 pole vault record on three occasions in 2018 and the 18-year-old improved that mark three more times in less than an hour on the final day of competition at the European Championships.

Coming into the final with a lifetime best of 5.93m, Duplantis sailed clear at 5.95m, 6.00m and then 6.05m all on his first attempts. Not only did Duplantis achieved the double whammy of gold medal and a championship record, he also had the distinction of becoming the youngest ever pole vaulter in history to surpass the six metre-mark.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen (NOR)

Jakob Ingebrigtsen tore two accomplished and experienced fields asunder on back-to-back evenings at the European Championships in Berlin for an unprecedented 1500/5000m double.

At 17, Ingebrigtsen was the youngest entrant in both events but he ran with the poise and maturity of a seasoned veteran, holding off a late charge from Poland’s Marcin Lewandowski to win the 1500m final in 3:38.10 before running away from older brother Henrik over the last two laps of the 5000m final in a European U20 record of 13:17.06.

Ingebrigtsen initially broke the European U20 5000m record at the IAAF World U20 Championships in Tampere where he won silver in the 1500m and bronze in the 5000m in 13:20.78, improving a record which had stood since 1979 by seven seconds.

Ingebrigtsen also broke the European U20 mile record with 3:52.28 at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene and decimated the European U20 1500m record with 3:31.18 in the Monaco Diamond League.

Jonathan Sacoor (BEL)

A bronze medallist at the European U20 Championships last year, Jonathan Sacoor picked up his first global medal just a few months later, helping Belgium to a bronze medal in the 4x400m relay at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham.

Individual honours were to follow for Sacoor, who trains with the Borlees under the watchful eye of their father Jacques, at the World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland. He upset pre-race favourite Christopher Taylor from Jamaica for the 400m title in 45.03, just missing Thomas Schonlebe’s long-standing European U20 record by 0.02.

Sacoor, who turned 19 in September, also produced two sub-45 relay performances in Tampere and played a key part in Belgium’s gold medal-winning team at the European Championships in Berlin.

Sacoor didn’t contest the individual event but he produced a sparkling 44.70 relay leg - 0.07 faster than individual 400m winner Matthew Hudson-Smith on the same leg - before handing on the baton to Kevin Borlee who brought Belgium home to the title.

Women's Rising Star finalists

Sarah Healy (IRL) 

Sarah Healy followed in Delia Sclabas’ footsteps by winning a 1500/3000m double at the second edition of the European U18 Championships in Gyor, Hungary in July.

Healy eclipsed both of Sclabas’ championship records - 4:18.71 in the 1500m and 9:18.05 in the 3000m - and her task was made slightly more complicated with 1500m heats scheduled on the morning of the 3000m final.

Healy has already left her mark on the Irish senior stage as well. Just days after celebrating her 17th birthday, Healy powered to the Irish indoor 3000m title in 9:10.43 with a closing kilometre of 2:55 to shatter the national U18 and U20 records.  

Her range extends down to 800m - she has clocked a national U18 and U20 record of 2:02.76 for the distance - but her best distance for now is the 1500m. Healy produced a massive lifetime best of 4:09.25 in Tubingen, Germany to finish the season at the top of the world U18 lists.

Elvira Herman (BLR)

It was expected that a Belarusian sprint hurdler would win the 100m hurdles at the European Championships but the consensus pick for the title was Alina Talay who had clocked 12.41 over the barriers in June.

Talay unfortunately succumbed to a foot injury in the final but up stepped Elvira Herman who further embellished her status as a championship performer with the first senior title of her career at the age of 21.

Herman has been making rapid progress through the ranks. She won European and world U20 titles in back-to-back seasons in 2015 and 2016 before winning silvers in the European U23 Championships and World University Games in 2017.

Two silvers were followed by a gold in Berlin where she skimmed over the barriers in the drizzle in 12.67 - the second fastest time of her career after an early season 12.63 - to defeat home favourites and recent global medallists Pamela Dutkiewicz and Cindy Roleder.

Maria Vicente (ESP)

Spain’s Maria Vicente won two gold medals at the European U18 Championships in Gyor and she could have even won more. Not only did she win the heptathlon title with a world U18 best of 6221 points, her performances in the 100m hurdles (13.25) and the long jump (6.37m) were both in excess of the winning marks in the individual finals in Gyor.

Vicente did win her second title of the championships in an event which isn’t even part of the heptathlon programme. After dominating the heptathlon from the first event, Vicente showed her competitive spirit in the girls’ triple jump final by responding to Aleksandra Nacheva’s sixth round jump of 13.88m with another championship record and lifetime best of 13.95m.

Vicente set six lifetime bests to win the heptathlon title with a world U18 best. She said she was most pleased with her javelin in which she improved her lifetime best by seven metres to 43.28m.